Church is not a building. Church is not an event.
Church is the people of God filled with the presence of God set apart for the purposes of God in the world. For this reason, we must commit to equipping everyday people for the everyday mission of gospel saturation.
Do you believe that? Do you believe you are the church? Do you believe the church is actively on mission every day in the stuff of life – in the workplace, at school, in cafes and pubs, around dinner tables, and on the soccer field, all for the glory of God?
If you are a leader in the church, do you see that your job is not to primarily do the ministry for the church, but to equip the church for ministry in the everyday stuff of life (Eph. 4:11-12)?
Sixteen months ago I accepted an invitation to replant a broken and hurting church. My team and I have been wrestling with helping our body transition from a Sunday to an “everyday” church, praying with members through wounds old and new, and reorienting our people to see themselves as the church – a people saved by God who have been sent out into the world by God for his purposes.
Recently I was speaking with a couple who’re in the process of becoming missional community leaders and I asked them how they thought the transition from Sunday to everyday was going.
“To be honest, we’re a little overwhelmed.”
When I asked why, they responded,
“Well, it used to be that church was one-two hours on Sunday and a few hours on Wednesdays with our community group. But you keep saying that we don’t go to church, we are the church 24-7. That’s a little overwhelming because that means everything counts – we’re always on.”
I said, “Well, you know I didn’t make that up, right? You already were the people of God 24-7 regardless of whether I said so.”
They agreed with some laughter, “Of course, we see that. It’s just that we weren’t really thinking about it before. Now we are.”
I continued, “Well, it doesn’t need to overwhelm you. If you were the church 24-7 before when you weren’t thinking about it, and God was at work in you, whether you knew it or not, think about how much more fulfilling life could be when you are fully aware that he is at work in and through you all the time, even when you’re sleeping!”
I went on to explain that God isn’t necessarily looking for us to try harder or add more ministry demands on our lives. He wants us to walk in greater awareness and dependency on him in the everyday stuff of life and engage what we we’re already doing with gospel intentionality.
This isn’t additional, this is intentional. It’s not about adding more to our busy lives, it’s about engaging all of life for his glory. It’s about fully realizing we have his power because he is present in us and in all we do.
They went on to share all the present activities they were already engaged in and one by one, we began to discuss how they might enter in to the already established rhythms of their lives a little differently.
You can do this too.
Whether you’re a leader or not, God wants you to see that he is present in your life by his Spirit, at work in your life by his power and eager to be glorified through your life for your joy, others’ good, and Jesus’ fame.
- Evaluate. Carve out some time to consider all you are presently doing or involved in. What if you were to start seeing those activities and events as the places where God wants to work through you to show his glory and tell his story? That’s what he intends to do through all of his people.
- Pray. God wants gospel saturation to happen through you, but it first of all needs to happen to you. Invite him to saturate you with his Spirit and then saturate your world with his glory every day and everywhere. Ask for the Spirit to show where he wants you to focus your time and efforts. Pray through each of your daily rhythms and ask God to open your eyes and heart to where He is already working. Invite him to show you areas that need the good news of Jesus.
- Reprioritize. After prayerful reflection of the activities and rhythms of your daily life, is there anything you should cut so you have more time to spend in other areas? Or maybe there is something Jesus is leading you to start doing? Or even keep doing, but in a different way?
- Submit and Share. Test what you’re hearing against Scripture and process with your spouse, missional community, friends – anyone you trust to give you wise counsel. Invite them to speak into your conclusions and to partner with you in the work if necessary.
- Act. Begin to make the necessary changes. Remember that Jesus is already at work in the relationships and situations in your life. And, in you. You have the power and presence of God.
Walking in obedience brings rest and peace at the soul level. Yes, you will die to self, things will most likely get messy, but Jesus will give you what you need moment by moment. And, in that you will find rest for your soul.
Gospel saturation doesn’t happen in a building.
It won’t get accomplished through an event.
Gospel saturation happens in you and then gospel saturation happens through you…until all the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.